Photo taken on Nov. 13, 2018 shows visitors touring the guest house of Esmat Zain al-Deen, a man who has turned his guest house into a small museum in Sweida, Syria. (Xinhua/Hummam Sheikh Ali)
SWEIDA, Syria, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Esmat Zain al-Deen has turned his guest house into a small museum for developing the hobby of collecting antiques about the history of his ancestors in Syria's southern province of Sweida.
Old guns and rifles, as well as old coins, stamps, documents, diaries, and tools used by the ancient inhabitants in Sweida, were put on display in the small museum.
The guest house is usually a separated part of the house designated for hosting guests and is a tradition of the Sweida people that could almost be found in every house, but for Zain al-Deen, it has become his small museum of which he is so proud as his dream has come true.
He turned the guest house into a museum four months ago after he managed to collect around 2,500 pieces of antiques over the past eight years, the oldest of which dates back to mid last century.
Driven by the "love of his ancestors' heritage," the man, who is originally a merchant, said he started by collecting old tools the farmers had used in the past and also collected old rifles.
"Over the past eight years, I have become so interested in collecting antiques and everything related to our heritage," he said.
Photo taken on Nov. 13, 2018 shows old coins and accessories collected by Esmat Zain al-Deen, a man who has turned his guest house into a small museum in Sweida, Syria. (Xinhua/Hummam Sheikh Ali)
"I started with collecting tools used in the past by the farmers and I also got interested in accumulating old light rifles, which were used in the old times by our ancestors during revolutions. So I almost collected most of the pieces from different areas in Sweida," he said.
He said he wanted to do something that could inform the new generations about their history.
"My aim is to inform the new generations about the history and heritage of the people of Sweida because we have a bright and honorable history," he said.
The man, in his 40s, told Xinhua he had this hobby for a long time but it started to materialize when he got a few old pieces that he had put together.
He said he bought some pieces from people who possess old stuff but made it clear that he is only a guardian of those antiques as the law in Syria prohibits the trade in ancient stuff.
"I am the guardian of these pieces as I don't own them. They belong to the generations. I hope my son could also preserve those pieces in the future and protect them even more than I do," he said.
Photo taken on Nov. 13, 2018 shows an old recorder collected by Esmat Zain al-Deen, a man who has turned his guest house into a small museum. (Xinhua/Hummam Sheikh Ali)
The man's idea was also welcomed by the people in his town, some of whom brought their old belongings as gifts for the small museum.
"Many of the people came to visit the gallery and they brought along old pieces they have inherited to be showcased in this place. These people are the biggest fans," Zain al-Deen recounted.
He said his dream is to have a bigger collection and to designate more space to show the antiques.